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Tag:Ron Gardenhire
Posted on: November 30, 2011 10:55 pm
 

Twins want to decide Morneau's position soon

Justin Morneau

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday said the team is considering moving Justin Morneau from first base to designated hitter -- something that would also allow Joe Mauer to play more at first base in an attempt to keep him fresh.

Morenau, who missed the second half of the 2010 season after suffering a concussion, played in just 69 games in 2011, while still battling the after effects of his concussion. He didn't play after diving for a ball on Aug. 28 and felt similar symptoms as his more serious concussions, despite landing on his shoulder, not his head. That had to scare the Twins, who have Morneau under contract through 2013 with $28 million due to the 30-year-old.

Speaking with ESPN 1500-AM in Minnesota on Wednesday, Gardenhire said the team would likely make a decision on Monreau's position soon.

"One of the things Terry [Ryan] and I talked about is making sure before we get too deep in this thing [is] what we're going to do with Morny," Gardenhire said (via the Star Tribune). "Where he is going to play, if it is DH, if it is first base. Morny has to eventually tell us what's right for him or I'll make the decision for him and we will go from there. If he can't decide and we talk to the doctors and they give me information where I think the best thing for him to do is to DH and protect him as much as possible, then that is what we will do.

"First thing, you talk to Morny and let him do the doctor things and go from there."

Gardenhire said he's been talking to Morneau via text message. He also said the team is making "a mad effort" to re-sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer and hoped to retain Matt Capps as the team's closer.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:22 pm
 

The 2011 Anti-Managers of the Year



By Matt Snyder


Some of the best managers in baseball for 2011 were listed on ballots that were revealed Wednesday. Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson came out on top in a completely unsurprising movement. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Who were the worst managers? We'll exclude guys who were fired during the season because they've already suffered enough. But what about the managers who kept their jobs well into September despite failing to meet preseason expectations? Let's check them out.

AL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Terry Francona, Red Sox. No, he wasn't fired during the season. He walked away after the season, so he's "eligible" in this fun little exercise. And with the fallout of the historic collapse we've already heard far too much about, you have to question everyone in the Red Sox organization. Francona built up a ton of credibility throughout his years at the helm in Boston and rightfully so, but in looking at just 2011, the awful September is a real black eye on his resume.

Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. He wasn't fired either. He walked away to take a new job after having a colossal disappointment of a season. The White Sox were picked by many to win the AL Central with what looked like a stacked offense and very good starting pitching. Instead, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios were albatrosses, Gordon Beckham took a step backward in his development and the back-end of the bullpen was a mess for the first several weeks of the season. There were some positives, but the negatives far outweighed those on a high-priced roster that failed to meet expectations.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins. It's hard to completely blame Gardenhire for the disaster that was the Twins' 2011 season, considering all the injuries, but, frankly, I needed a third name here. And with the Twins getting 31 games worse in one season, Gardenhire has to shoulder at least some of the load.

The pick: It's gotta be Francona with that monumental collapse. And the funny thing is, I'd hire him in a heartbeat if I was running a team with a managerial opening. He just had a bad month, along with many of his players.

NL Anti-Manager of the Year candidates

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves. His ballclub lost a double-digit lead in the NL wild card in one month. That's not always on the manager, as the offense was sputtering just as it had most of the season, but I'm placing a lot of blame on Gonzalez because the back-end of his bullpen started to falter down the stretch. All season, people had been pointing out the overuse of Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. And all season, Gonzalez just ignored it, and continued running the duo out there, even with three-run leads. Just because the save rule says a three-run lead means a save opportunity doesn't mean you have to use your guys. What was wrong with using Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill with a three-run lead in the middle of July, for example? Plus, there were times Gonzalez used either Venters or Kimbrel with a lead bigger than three. That's just unexcusable.

Dusty Baker, Reds. The Reds got 12 games worse in a mediocre division (yes, there were two good teams, but three pretty bad ones) with very similar personnel to their division-winning team in 2010. In four seasons, Baker has only had a winning record once.

Mike Quade, Cubs. Flawed roster? Yes. Injuries? Sure. But Quade was still pretty overmatched and appeared to lose control of his locker room by July. This was coming from a guy many players endorsed prior to the season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies. The Jorge De La Rosa injury hurt, just as some underperformance from a few players, but the Rockies entered the season with far too much talent to end up a whopping 16 games under .500. Manager of the Year voting seems to always use performance versus expectations, so it's only fair the Anti-Manager does the same. Thus, Tracy's inclusion here.

The pick: Gonzalez, and I'd actually think about firing him due to the aforementioned overuse of Kimbrel and Venters. It cost his team the season. Hopefully the wear and tear doesn't alter the career paths of the young fireballers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 10, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 4:57 pm
 

Latest concussion a concern for Morneau, Twins



By C. Trent Rosecrans

While football and hockey are putting a renewed emphasis on safety in light of the rising concern over concussions, baseball's not immune to head injuries just because it's a so-called "non-contact" sport.

The poster boy for concussions in baseball may end up being former MVP Justin Morneau, who missed the second half of last season after suffering a concussion on a play at second base when he took a knee to the head while trying to break up a double play. But that may not be the play that defines Morneau's struggles with concussions. Instead, it could be the concussion he suffered on Aug. 28. The play didn't look anything out of the ordinary -- a first baseman diving after a ball happens all the time. The results don't.

Morneau said he believes he suffered a new concussion in the second inning of the Aug. 28 game at Target Field when he dove for what ended up as a double for Alex Avila. He finished that game, but hasn't played since.

There's plenty we don't know about concussions, but one thing we do know is that once you suffer one, you're more susceptible to more. And that could be the problem for Morneau.

"It's definitely something that concerns me," Morneau told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I mean, that's not normal. You see guys dive all the time. You see guys run full speed into the wall, and they're all right after that."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the newspaper that he doesn't expect Morenau to play again this season, and if he does, it will be as a DH.

"He hit the ground pretty hard, and it definitely didn't help matters with him," Gardenhire said. "There's always concern. As I've said all along, we don't know enough about this concussion thing … I'm just hoping we can get past these things over the winter, and get into next year and maybe they'll be a thing of the past."

That's a huge hope -- and one that may not have much backing other than just hope.

Last season when John McDonlad's knee hit Morneau in the head, he was having another MVP-type season. He was hitting .345/.437/.618 with 18 homers and 56 RBI in 81 games. A full offseason didn't have him ready to return immediately to the field, as he missed some of spring training. He was there for opening day, but in 2011 he wasn't the same player he'd been before the injury, hitting just .227/.285/.333 with four homers and 30 RBI in 69 games.

MLB added a seven-day disabled list for those diagnosed with concussions and it's been a good first step. But we still don't know near enough to really understand the problem or how to combat it -- for now, vigilance and awareness are the two things that can be done and need to be expanded on by players and management. There's still a lot of ignorance out there about the problem -- just read any entry here on Morneau or concussions and you'll see comments from people telling them to "man up" or "get over it," implying that if no bone is broken, it's not a real injury and players should be on the field.  That type of fundamental misunderstand of concussions is what many health providers are fighting against. The bottom line is a concussion is a legitimate brain injury -- there's no such thing as a "minor" brain injury and anyone who questions the toughness of a player with such an injury aren't using that organ.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Plenty of good seats available

Dodger Stadium

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke went to Wednesday afternoon's Dodgers-Padres game and talked to all six fans in section 314. Six. The announced crowd was 27,767 -- but there were actually fewer than 8,000, Plaschke estimated and may have been the smallest crowd in Dodger Stadium history. 

Every time I've been to Dodger Stadium it's been full and rocking -- this tells you as much as you need to know about how LA fans feel about Frank McCourt.

On the market: But the McCourts did sell one of their two homes near the Playboy Mansion, so there's that. It was the smaller of the two houses in Holmby Hills going for "just" $6.14 million. [Los Angeles Times]

Click here: Really nice work by the Detroit News illustrating just how quickly a Justin Verlander fastball gets on a batter. Check it out.

No sympathy: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of his closest friends in the game, but he's not exactly feeling sorry for him -- "No, because I've seen him celebrating a lot with a lot of champagne over his body when I've watch him [over the years]," he told reporters (MLB.com). "Get them next year, Gardy."

Jays scouting Darvish: Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Japan on Wednesday scouting right-hander Yu Darvish. The Rangers and Yankees have also scouted him in person, while the Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays also have reportedly been interested in Darvish. [Toronto Sun]

Theo happy in Boston: Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein made his first remarks about his name being thrown around in talks about the open Cubs job -- he said he's "really happy to be with the Red Sox." He didn't elaborate much or deny any interest in the Cubs job, but why should he? Leverage is a good thing and there's no reason for Epstein to give that up. [WEEI.com]

Beane leading Cubs' wish list: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was in San Francisco on Wednesday, while A's general manager Billy Beane was at home in the Bay Area and his team was in Cleveland -- coincidence? [Chicago Sun-Times

Rooftops expected: For the first time in a decade, all the Wrigley rooftops around the Cubs' home park have been inspected by city health officials. [Chicago Tribune]

Measuring power: An interesting article on FanGraphs.com asking the best way to measure power -- because what exactly are we talking about when we talk about power? It's more than just homers, but shouldn't homers count more? Anyway, the result is a stat called wXB -- or weighted extra bases. However, the problem with this is that are triples really a measure of power? You're not going to find anyone who says Dexter Fowler has more power than David Ortiz, but you wouldn't be surprised to learn Fowler has more triples than Ortiz.

Strasmas returns: Not that it's any surprise, but ticket prices have gone through the roof for the Stephen Strasburg's "Strasurrection" start on Sept. 6. [Washington Post]

Cards want to extend Berkman: The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice told a St. Louis radio station that the Cardinals approached Lance Berkman about a contract extension in July and the 35-year-old "very much wants to stay" in St. Louis. However, the fact he didn't sign an extension implies Berkman will at least test the free agent waters. [NBC Sports]

Phillies doomed: The Phillies are a favorite for the World Series this season, but enjoy it now, Phillies fans. Grantland.com's Rany Jazayerli writes that the team isn't built for the long haul, as the team is saddled with bloated contracts and aging players. A really interesting read.

Moose is loose: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has found his groove. After starting his career hitting .182, he's raised his average to .232 with a 14-game hitting streak. [MLB.com]

Movie time for A's: Several A's say they're curious to see Moneyball when it premiers later this month. [Baseball Prospectus]

Bay to center? Could the Mets move Jason Bay to center field in 2012? That's one of the things the team is considering, even though it seems like it would certainly weaken the team's outfield defense. But hey, the guy is owed a ton of money, so he'd have to be put somewhere. The move would also allow Daniel Murphy's bat to get in the lineup in left, with Lucas Duda in right. Of course, Murphy wasn't able to play left in 2009, so I'm not exactly sure why he would be able to now. [New York Daily News]

Pujols teases fan: A good friend of mine can't stand Albert Pujols -- when 60 Minutes did the feature about all his charitable work, my friend wasn't impressed. He once had a to do a story on Pujols, who blew him off. He went back the next day, and Pujols was a jerk to him again. So I'm guessing he'll like this story about Pujols taunting a Brewer fan. [Big League Stew]

Quentin's return uncertain: White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he said he's unsure if he'll be ready to play by then. He went on the disabled list for a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder Saturday, but hadn't played since Aug. 20. [Chicago Tribune]

Uehara's option vests: When Rangers reliever Koji Uehara appeared in his 55th game of the season on Wednesday, his $4 million option for 2012 vested. [MLBTradeRumors.com]

More Garfoose: Not to overload you with Dirk Hayhurst stuff, but some might find this interesting -- the recently released pitcher is auctioning off some of his game-used gear for charity. [DirkHayhurst.com]

40th anniversary: On Sept. 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team in Major League history to field an all-minority lineup, with Dock Ellis taking the mound. [The Hardball Times]

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 1:39 am
 

Twins won't blame fan

Joe MauerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Former Twin J.J. Hardy made the most of his second chance on Monday, giving the Orioles the lead in the fifth inning with a solo homer off of Carl Pavano. However, it looked as if Hardy would be retired when he fouled off the second pitch he saw  near the stands on the first-base side when a fan in a Joe Mauer jersey had the ball bounce off his hands as the real Mauer tried to lean over the railing to make the catch. Four pitches later, Hardy launched a fastball into the seats in left field for a 2-1 Baltimore lead.

Even though fans booed both Hardy and the fan for setting up the home run, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire refused to blame the fan. From Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune:

"The ball was in the stands," Gardenhire said. "If you're a fan, you've got two choices: reach up and catch the ball, or let it hit you in the head and hope that Mauer catches it.

"C'mon. If you're sitting there in the stands, you're going to try to catch the ball. It's the same way with [Steve] Bartman. You're going to try to catch the ball if you're a fan.

"You can't blame our fans for reaching up and catching the ball. You can boo him, like I heard, but they're going to try to catch it. Joe would have caught the ball. He had a chance to catch the ball, but that's not why we lost the game."

Hardy said he appreciated the help.

"Someone was saying he had a Hardy jersey on," Hardy joked to the Associated Press. "Any time you get a second chance, it's nice."

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 9:56 am
 

Pepper: Replay helps, but is hardly perfect



By C. Trent Rosecrans

See, now that's how replay's supposed to work -- maybe.

A day after the Yankees were the victim of a bad call (and worse replay) in Kansas City, the umpires in Minnesota went to the video once again for a Justin Morneau two-run homer in the first inning.

However, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn't agree.

"In my opinion, and this is what I told them: 'If one replay shows it could be fair and one replay shows it could be foul, and no one is really positive, how the heck do you change it?'" Gardenhire told reporters (via MLB.com). "I don't get that. They told me they saw a view on TV. But I could show three views right here where the ball disappears behind the pole. It just depends on the camera angle."

While I'm all for expanded replay, we must keep in mind it's not going to solve all of baseball's problems -- and the last two days have shown that.

Fair or foul? You be the judge (Yankees broadcast, Twins broadcast). It sure looked foul to me, but I understand the argument. It's what the NFL calls "incontrovertible visual evidence" and I'm not sure it's there. It's something to keep in mind, even with replay, humans are in charge and the chance for human error is always great, no matter what tools are at our disposal.

Hanley on hold: Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez may not return this season, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post speculated. Ramirez sprained his left shoulder on Aug. 2 while chasing down a fly ball. Ramirez hasn't played since. He had surgery not he same shoulder following the 2007 season.

Quade safe?: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has been supportive of embattled manager Mike Quade and when he talks to the media during a homestand starting today, it's expected he will support his manager. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Little slugger: I wrote about Indians infielder Jack Hannahan's son the other day, but if you missed it, go here. Anyway, Louisville Slugger sent the youngest Hannahan a bat with his name, birthday and birth weight on it. A cool gesture for Johnny Hannahan, whose dad also uses Louisville Sluggers. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

Hanson on hold: Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson won't return from the disabled list on Tuesday as previously scheduled. The Braves aren't sure when they'll get him back from shoulder tendinitis, but it may not be too long. It looks like rookie Mike Minor will stay in the rotation, at least through Tuesday. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

Congrats?: Brewers infielder Craig Counsell was believed to have dodged setting the record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit recently when he snapped an 0-for-45 skid one hitless at-bat before the record set by Bill Bergen in 1909. However, the Elias Sports Bureau went back and found that Bergen's went 0 for 45, meaning Counsell and former big leaguer Dave Campbell tied Bergen for baseball's longest streak of futility. Campbell achieved the feat in 1973 while with the Padres, Cardinals and Astros. The original 0 for 46 mark was from Joe Dittmar, who had researched it as a piece on Bergen for the Society for American Baseball Reaserach in 1997. Dittmar went back to check his work and saw that he was off by one and Elias was right. So, congrats Counsell and Campbell, or probably more accurately to Bergen, who is no long alone with his streak. [New York Times]

Confidence is key: Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion said his belief in himself has been able to get him through another difficult year. It looked as if Encarnacion might be the odd man out when the Jays were set to promote Brett Lawrie at the end of June, but since Lawrie broke his hand and his call up was delayed. Since June 28, Encarnacion has hit .325/.414/.580 with nine home runs and cut down his strikeouts to 25 with 22 walks over that time. He's also been helped by being taken off third base where he's struggled throughout his career with consistency -- making the really difficult plays and botching the easy ones. [Toronto Star]

Please stay Rays: St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster said Thursday that he has a "detailed plan" to keep the Rays in St. Pete, but refused to disclose any details. The city clerk said she knew nothing about it, but Foster claims it exists. Don't get too excited about this plan, though, while he didn't spill any beans, he did "clarify" that his "detailed plan" may not include a new stadium. [Tampa Tribune]

Hold on: The Nationals' Tyler Clippard has a pretty good shot at breaking the holds record this year. If you can't quite remember who currently holds it, you're forgiven -- it's not like we're talking about Babe Ruth's home run record (I kid). Clippard got his 32nd hold last night and has a decent shot at breaking Luke Gregerson's record of 40 set way back in 2010. [Baseball-Reference.com]

M.C. Doc Halladay?: Rapper Game references Phillies ace Roy Halladay on his new album. That's all. Just found it interesting and liked the mental image Dave Brown gives of Halladay at the Source Awards. [Yahoo's Big League Stew]

Making dad proud: The other day I teased Reds scouting director Chris Buckley about the team's pick of his son, Sean, in the sixth round. Another team official was there and rightfully noted, "nepotism picks comes in the 40s, not the sixth round." They're right -- and early in his career, Sean Buckley is proving him right. Buckley has 13 home runs already in short-season Class A with the Billings Mustangs, including one that cleared the batter's eye in center field. [MiLB.com]

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Pepper: Head indoors during All-Star Weekend



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

It's not that I'm not looking forward to heading to Phoenix on Saturday; it's just that, well, it's going to be really, really hot and that doesn't sound like fun.

The average temperature in Phoenix on July 12? 107. I don't care how dry that heat is, it's still hot.

Phoenix has wanted to host an All-Star Game for years, but with the All-Star Game comes more than just nine innings of baseball. There's the Futures Game, a celebrity softball game, the Home Run Derby, FanFest and an influx of people, all walking around the area around the ballpark. Anyone outside is going to be hot.

The Diamondbacks are planning as many things indoors as they can, according to this Arizona Republic article. The team may open the roof for a possible flyover during the national anthem, but that would take place during the hottest part of the day.

Also, the usual parade will be about two blocks and players have been told not to wear suits and ties.

Team president Derrick Hall tells the newspaper, "I think everyone is going to be shocked how comfortable it's going to be."

I hope so. Then I can get ready for Kansas City next July -- and that could be even worse, just ask Ichiro (language NSFW).

CLOSER QUESTION: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stood behind closer Matt Capps after pulling him Sunday, but Capps may not be the closer for long. He has blown six saves in 19 chances, and Joe Nathan is back and healthy. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

FREAK OR FISH?: Marlins manager Jack McKeon questioned Bruce Bochy's selection of Tim Lincecum for the All-Star team. "He's a good pitcher, don't get me wrong," McKeon told reporters, including Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "But do we reward for what you're doing now or do we reward for what you've done in the past."

DERBY LOBBYING: Not only are two captains picking the sides for this year's Home Run Derby, they can pick players who aren't in the All-Star Game to participate. Here's two non-All-Stars I'd love to see. Bob Young of the Arizona Republic suggests Ichiro Suzuki, which may sound odd, but Suzuki's batting practice displays are the stuff of legend, and what is the Derby but glorified batting practice? I'd give Suzuki a better shot than most at winning the deal. While Suzuki doesn't look like a guy who would be a Home Run Derby favorite, the Marlins' Mike Stanton does. Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez wants to see his teammate in the derby, and so do I. [Palm Beach Post]

NO REHAB FOR PUJOLS: Albert Pujols "doesn't need" a rehab assignment before he returns to the Cardinals, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.

RECORD DEAL: The Rangers signed Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara with what is believed to be a record $5 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-3, 16-year-old left-handed outfielder is said to have the most raw power in Latin America. [Baseball America]

SELLOUT RECORD: Saturday the Dayton Dragons, the Reds' Class A team in the Midwest League, recorded their 814th sellout in a row, tying the all-time professional sports record set by the Portland Trail Blazers. The team expects to break the record July 9.

While the Dayton Daily News has the news, the New York Times takes a look at just why the Dragons have been so successful.

HISTORICALLY BAD: As bad as the Padres' offense has been this season, it's not as bad as the Mariners' last season -- so there's that. Otherwise, the outlook is bleak for San DIego bats. [North County Times]

STEREOTYPES DISPUTED: Former Cubs and current White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone says the stereotypes of Cubs fans and White Sox aren't exactly true. Cubs fans are usually believed to be more interested in being at Wrigley Field than what's going on at Wrigley Field. The stereotype of White Sox fans is best displayed by the buffoons who get liquored up and run on the field to attack either the umpire or the opposing team's first base coach. [Chicago Tribune]

VLAD'S BATS HEATING UP: Vladimir Guerrero isn't producing at the plate, but his bats are. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is crushing with Guerrero's bats, hitting .436 in his last 21 games since switching to Guerrero's heavier bats. [Baltimore Sun]

PADRES DRAFT COULD BE GREAT: Well, the Padres' draft could be a great one if the team spends the money to sign the players it drafted. The Royals stopped worrying about "signability," and David Glass started paying the going rate for drafted players. That's how the Royals built the best farm system in the majors. If the Padres follow suit, it could certainly pay off in the end. [InsideThePadres]

HOSMER USED TO OVERCOMING: Check out this fantastic feature by my friend Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star on Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and his family. Hosmer's dad was a firefighter and his mother a nurse who immigrated from Cuba.

RACIAL BIAS BY UMPS: A study recently published in the American Economic Review shows a small difference in called strikes when the umpire and the pitcher are the same race. But the bias disappeared in games with computer monitoring, which is now standard across MLB. (H/T to BaseballMusings.com

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 11:11 am
Edited on: July 3, 2011 11:19 am
 

Mauer to make debut at 1B soon

Joe Mauer

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Joe Mauer's debut at first base is coming any day now, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Mauer's been taking ground balls and making throws from first base, but is at the point where he needs to play games there to really learn the position, he told the newspaper.

Mauer nearly played first in Saturday's loss to the Brewers to give Luke Hughes' sore knee a rest, but Hughes felt good enough to play, allowing Mauer to DH. He is expected to catch in Sunday's series finale against Milwaukee. The Twins start a series against the Rays on Monday afternoon and that could be the first time Mauer starts at first.

"He's going to get out there [at first base] pretty soon," Gardenhire said, according to the newspaper. "I think he's pretty much ready to go out there, any time we say let's go do it."

Mauer has improved his averaged from .186 to .241 after a seven-game hitting streak, including single in four at-bats on Saturday. Overall, he's hitting .241/.289/.289 and still looking for his first home run of the season.

Mauer went on the disabled list in mid-April after suffering from bilateral leg weakness before returning June 17. Mauer managed just three hits in his first seven games back, before starting his current hitting streak.

"The leg that I've had problems with is my back leg," Mauer said. "So that's kind of what I was having a tough time doing is staying back on my back leg, driving the ball. So it's getting better, and I'm feeling better at the plate."

The Twins are hoping he'll feel better more often if he's not behind the plate. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com